Ontario Parks

Ontario Update on Ontario Parks Operations in Response to COVID-19

Update : March 18, 2020 6:50 P.M.

News Release Details

Contact Ontario Parks

Ontario Parks FAQs

  • Question: Where can I find information on beach closings, boil water advisories, and fire bans?
  • Answer: Beach advisories, boil water advisories and fire ban alerts can be found at www.ontarioparks.com/alerts

  • Question: How old do you have to be to reserve and occupy a campsite without an adult?
  • Answer: You must be at least 16 years of age to reserve and occupy a campsite without adult supervision, provided that all occupants are 16 years of age or older. If a member of your camping party is under the age of 16, you must have at least one person 18 years of age or older occupying the site

  • Question: Is alcohol permitted within Ontario’s provincial parks?
  • Answer: Alcohol is permitted within provincial parks except during scheduled alcohol bans. Alcohol must remain on your designated campsite at all times. For the dates of alcohol bans, please consult the Reservation Rules and Policies under ‘All Reservations’ at http://www.ontarioparks.com/reservations/

  • Question: Can I use Cannabis in provincial parks?
  • Answer:

    Several pieces of legislation apply in Ontario’s provincial parks such as the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, 2006, the Liquor Licence Act and the Highway Traffic Act. The Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 contains rules about tobacco and cannabis and the Cannabis Control Act, 2017 contains rules about cannabis which apply in provincial parks.

    In Ontario and Ontario’s provincial parks, smoking tobacco or cannabis, or using an electronic cigarette (vaping) is not permitted in areas including buildings; children’s playgrounds and 20 metres around the playground; or sporting areas such as volleyball and beach volleyball areas, designated swimming areas, baseball diamonds, soccer fields and 20 metres around the sporting or spectator areas.

    Smoking tobacco or cannabis, or using an electronic cigarette (vaping), is permitted on a registered campsite in a provincial park.

    For more information about Ontario’s rules for recreational cannabis use, please visit www.ontario.ca/cannabis.

  • Question: What are the check-in and check-out times at Ontario’s provincial parks?
  • Answer: For Car Camping, check-in time is 2 p.m. on the day of arrival. Campers must check-out before 2 p.m. on their day of departure. The latest arrival time is 8 a.m. following the scheduled day of arrival. For Roofed Accommodations, please refer to your confirmation letter for specific check in/out times
  • Question: Can I arrive at the park after hours for car camping?
  • Answer: Yes. If you arrive after the park office is closed, you may proceed directly to your campsite and quietly set up your campsite so as not to disturb other campers. Please check-in at the park office the following morning when it opens. If you plan to arrive after 8:00 a.m. on the second day of your reservation, please notify the park in advance.

  • Question:

    When will the parks close and for how long?

  • Answer:

    As of March 19, 2020, provincial parks are closed to the public for all recreational activities until April 30, 2020.

  • Question:

    Why did the Ministry decide to close provincial parks? Is this a result of the province declaring a state of emergency?

  • Answer:

    Public safety and the health and well being of our visitors and staff is our top priority. In response to Ontario’s state of emergency declaration, the ministry has closed provincial parks to assist the province with its efforts to keep Ontarians safe.

  • Question:

    Why did the ministry close provincial parks for day use?  Why can’t I go for a hike?

  • Answer:

    Public Health experts advise that social-distancing is essential to help minimize the spread of COVID-19. By closing provincial parks for day-use activities, such as hiking, the ministry is doing its part to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by discouraging non-essential travel to our provincial parks.

  • Question:

    If I have already paid for my reservation, will I get a refund?

  • Answer:

    Reservations for arrivals up to and including April 30, 2020 will receive a full refund with no penalty. The cancellation process will be done automatically and there is no need for you to contact Ontario Parks to receive your refund. Please do not attempt to cancel your reservation online, as this may trigger a cancellation fee.

    Please allow up to seven business days for your refund to appear on your credit card statement.

  • Question:

    How will the public be notified of the closure of provincial parks?

  • Answer:

    Notification of closures will be posted at parks and on OntarioParks.com.

    All public use facilities including campgrounds, roofed accommodations, trails and the backcountry are closed and will not be maintained during the closure period.

  • Question:

    Can I make future reservations for the 2020 camping season?

  • Answer:

    While we cannot predict the future impact of COVID-19 on Ontario Parks at this time, we are accepting future reservations beyond April 30, 2020. If you are making or have made a reservation beyond April 30, 2019, please continue to visit OntarioParks.com for the most up-to-date information.

  • Question:

    Where can I find more information about COVID-19?

  • Answer:

    Visit Ontario's website at www.ontario.ca/coronavirus to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

  • Question: Does Ontario Parks offer any discounts on park fees and what identification is required?
  • Answer: Ontario Parks offers discounts on day-use and camping fees to Ontario residents aged 65 and over and Ontario residents who possess a CNIB identity card or Ministry of Transportation accessible parking permit. When making a telephone reservation, please advise the call-centre agents of your eligibility for a discount. You will be required to show proof of your eligibility when you arrive at the park. Reduced campground rates apply to Ontario senior citizens and their spouse and any other persons in the same party who occupy the campsite. For interior camping or group camping facilities, reduced rates only apply to seniors and their spouse.

    Veterans and active members of the Canadian Armed Forces, who reside in Ontario, are eligible to enjoy free, weekday (Monday to Friday), day use in provincial parks. Upon arrival to a provincial park, please present a valid Canadian Armed Forces identification card (i.e., Canadian Armed Forces Veteran’s Service Card, Canadian Forces Identification Card or Record of Service Card) and proof of Ontario residency with photo identification (i.e., valid Ontario driver’s licence with photo, valid Ontario Health Card with photo, valid Ontario Photo Card, etc.)

  • Question: Are pets allowed in Ontario’s provincial parks?
  • Answer: Please refer to our “Dogs at Ontario Parks” webpage for everything you need to know about bringing your dog to the park.

  • Question: Can I operate my drone (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System) in a provincial park?
  • Answer:

    A Remotely Piloted Aircraft System, more commonly referred to as a drone, is an aircraft. Aircraft (including drones) cannot be taken into or operated in a provincial park without authorization from the park superintendent. If the park superintendent authorizes the operation of a drone, the drone pilot must:

    • Follow the rules in the Canadian Aviation Regulations including Part IX – Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems
    • Comply with park regulations under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, 2006 (PPCRA) including but not limited to:
      • Obtaining a valid provincial park permit
      • Obtaining an aircraft landing authorization
      • Ensuring drone operation does not disturb other persons, make excessive noise, chase or harass wildlife, cause damage to Crown property or vegetation
    • Follow all other laws including but not limited to:

    Transport Canada is responsible for the regulation of drones and more information is available by following this link: https://www.tc.gc.ca/en/services/aviation/drone-safety.html

  • Question: How can I apply for a summer job or career with Ontario Parks?
  • Answer: Please refer to the careers section of our website.

  • Question: Where can I find information on park fees?
  • Answer: Follow this link to view camping fees. http://www.ontarioparks.com/fees/camping/2020. Other categories of fees can be found by using the navigation dropdown menu at the top of each webpage to select the category of fees. On mobile and tablet devices use the menu button on the top right side of each webpage to expose the navigation menu.

  • Question: Can I use a generator in an Ontario Park?
  • Answer: The use of a generator is permitted provided that campers respect the “No Excessive Noise” rule.

  • Question: Where can I find information on group camping?
  • Answer: You can find information on group camping by clicking the "Camping" tab on each park webpage and look for the group camping section. If group camping is not listed the park does not have group camping facilities. Group campsite reservations for most parks can only be made by calling the park directly. As a pilot project, group campsite reservations for 12 southwestern parks can now be made by contacting the Ontario Parks Call Centre. Check this list of participating parks.

  • Question: Where can I get a campground map?
  • Answer: Campground maps are available on-line for all parks that are part of the reservation system. Simply go to the individual parks’ web-pages using the Park Locator and click on the map icon or go to the reservation page and select a park there. For parks that are not part of the reservation system, please contact the park directly to obtain a campground map.

  • Question: How many people are allowed on a car-camping site?
  • Answer: No more than six people can occupy a campground campsite unless these people comprise a single-family unit consisting of parents, and their children.
  • Question: How many people are allowed on an interior (backcountry) site?
  • Answer: Most parks with backcountry or interior campsites allow up to nine persons per site, with the exception of Frontenac, Killarney (hiking trail), Bon Echo and Charleston Lake. Each of these parks only allows six persons per backcountry or interior site.

  • Question: On what dates do parks open and close?
  • Answer: Some parks are open year round. Other parks open and close on different dates throughout the year depending on their location. Follow this link to find out the opening and closing dates for your favourite park.

  • Question: Can I submit photographs that I’ve taken of parks to www.ontarioparks.com?
  • Answer: Currently, we are not accepting photos for the website but we thank you for offering.

  • Question: Can I spread the ashes of a loved one in provincial parks?
  • Answer:

    Ontario Parks recognizes that the practice of scattering cremated remains is an important part of the religious beliefs of many families. Anyone who wishes to scatter the cremated remains of a loved one can do so in Ontario’s provincial parks on both land and in water.

    Who do I contact?

    It is recommended that you contact the Park Superintendent in advance to arrange a suitable, accessible location within the park. Provincial parks that have a designated site are:

    Bronte Creek
    Phone: 905.827.6911f

    Phone: 905.436.2036

    Earl Rowe
    Phone: 705.435.0847

    Forks of the Credit
    Phone: 705.435.0847

    Rideau River
    Phone: 613.258.2740

    As a reminder, all day-use visitors entering an Ontario provincial park must purchase a permit which allows the vehicle and its occupants to be in the park between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

    What do I need to know?

    • The location where you scattered ashes may not be accessible in the future
    • Natural vegetation (i.e. plants, trees) or natural objects in the park should not be cut, planted or removed
    • Plastic flowers, written notes or physical structures should not remain at the site
    • If necessary, as part of the ceremony, only a small handful of organic material such as leaves and flowers should be scattered
    • Offerings such as coins, clothing or jewellery should not be placed in waterways or left at the site
    • To minimize your environmental impact please stay on designated trails and roadways
    • Respect other park visitors and choose a site away from public swimming areas, docks and boat launches
    • Please recycle plastic bags and wrappers
    • All fruit should be eaten or placed in the garbage

    Environmental Responsibility

    Ontario’s provincial parks are dedicated to the people of Ontario and to visitors, for their inspiration, spiritual, education, health and recreational enjoyment – with the intention that these areas be managed to protect provincially significant natural and cultural features and preserved for future generations.


    The Funeral Burial and Cremation Services Act prohibits the interment (burial) of human remains, including urns (containing ashes) except in a registered and operating cemetery.

  • Question: Do any of your parks offer radio-free campgrounds?
  • Answer: Select campground areas in 22 parks, including Arrowhead, Bon Echo, Killbear, and Presqu'ile and four campground areas in Algonquin offer radio-free camping. Parks that offer radio-free camping are listed in the Parks Guide.

  • Question: I have tried to make a reservation 5 months in advance at my favourite park. Every campsite is reserved. How can this be?
  • Answer: You can reserve a campsite up to five months in advance of the day of your arrival and you can book a site for up to 23 days. Therefore, some customers may have reserved earlier than you for extended stays so when you go in to book, the sites are already reserved. You may want to check again closer to your date of arrival to see if any sites are available due to cancellations.
  • Question: Where can I find all of the reservation rules and policies?
  • Answer: Please go to http://www.ontarioparks.com/reservations and select the links under 'Reservation Rules and Policies'.
  • Question: When I call the 1-888-668-7275 reservation line I get a busy signal. Why am I not placed on hold?
  • Answer: You will receive this message if all agents are busy serving customers, and the wait queue is full as well.
  • Question: Can I camp with a tent on a site designated for a trailer?
  • Answer: Yes you may. The equipment designation for campsites reflects the largest equipment that will fit on the site – it is always permissible to place smaller equipment on the site. However, there are a few large trailer sites that include in their site description “not suitable for tents” – these sites lack tent pads, and should only be booked by trailers or motorhomes. When you are making an internet reservation, you must enter your equipment type. You may still choose to reserve a different size of site; however, a pop-up window will warn you that there is a mismatch of equipment type. Please make sure your equipment type will fit on the site before clicking ‘ok’ and proceeding with your reservation.

  • Question: Where can I get information about special events or attractions close to the provincial park I'm planning to visit?
  • Answer: You can get additional information about tourism in Ontario by contacting 1-800-ONTARIO or www.ontariotravel.net. A provincial road map is also available from 1-800-ONTARIO.

  • Question: How many vehicles can I have on my site?
  • Answer: The fee for one vehicle is included in your campsite permit - all other vehicles must purchase an "Additional Vehicle Permit" at the time of registration. The number of additional vehicles permitted on a campsite is limited by the park and vehicles may have to be parked in a separate designated "parking lot" located away from your campsite. Consult the ‘site description’ on the Reservations website to find out how many vehicles can be parked on-site.
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